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Clean Ocean Action seeks volunteers for Sandy cleanup

Dunes blow sand over the damaged section of

Dunes blow sand over the damaged section of Ocean Parkway as the water encroaches east of Jones Beach in Wantagh. (Nov. 16, 2012) Credit: Steve Pfost

Under normal circumstances, Clean Ocean Action, a grassroots organization based in New Jersey and focused on water quality issues, finds itself a haven for volunteers.

So after superstorm Sandy, it was inundated with requests to help, said Tavia Danch, education coordinator for the organization.

She found that post-Sandy, people were often frustrated by the fact that they could not find a place to volunteer their time, a volunteer effort that matched their particular skill, or that after finding a volunteer opportunity, they found it poorly organized.

“At Clean Ocean Action we’re a grassroots organization and what we pride ourselves on is the fact that we are able to recruit volunteers and our effectiveness at doing that,” she said. “This is really grassroots in its essence, let’s give the power to the people to really help in the aftermath of the storm.”

To help, the organization called on volunteers from New York and New Jersey to coordinate their effort into one organized day of volunteering, called “Waves of Action Day” on Dec. 8.

To facilitate “Waves of Action,” Danch said her organization is using its website,, to register projects and volunteers.

Any organization, municipality, homeowner or business in New York and New Jersey can register a recovery project, and interested volunteers can go on the website to find for the project that best suits their skills and interests.

One project registered on Long Island will take place in Hampton Bays at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. Twenty volunteers will tackle the trails that weave around the wooded acres the center sits on.

Ginnie Frati, executive director of the wildlife center, said some of the popular trails were left impassable after Sandy took down trees.

Frati said the volunteers will be a big help because her own staff -- which is caring for the many injured birds that have been brought to the center since the storm -- is unable to address the trails.

“Our staff has really been busy,” Frati said. “We just have enough staff to work on the animals.”

Most projects currently registered are in New Jersey and include beach cleanings, tree removal, a restaurant cleanup and a toy drive.

On Long Island, Danch said there is another project being organized for a Jones Beach cleanup that has yet to be finalized, and she said they are eager for others.

“We’re getting to the brink where we’re needing more projects to occupy all our volunteers,” she said.

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